SS5 – Amin – Confirmations
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The events in this chapter as well as the next one featuring Amin are played out in the future.

Amin sat under a boulder up on the mountain, panting with his back against the cold stone. He had finally arrived at his destination, and was now drenched in sweat. The final trek had taken more out of him than expected.

He thought back to the events that led him here as he took in the sight of the barrier, effectively dividing the world in the distance. 

Amin came from a kingdom far to the west, across the sea. When he arrived at the continent, he had seen the barrier before he saw any land. It had enveloped the continent at first, following the coast some kilometers out, before it took a sharp turn and headed east across the land.

Although he had  heard tales of it from the people who had travelled to the continent before him, seeing things with his own eyes had left his expectations behind. 

The nation he came from had been the most reluctant in converting to the new faith that was established years ago. After all, it was called the Alarice Kingdom - named after the deity they had worshipped. Or like himself, still did in secret.

The founder of the kingdom had been one of Alarice’s chosen, one of his ancestors. Although Amin was not allowed to carry his name, being born out of wedlock, he was still royal blood.

As such he was given an important mission. 

Even if he considered it pointless, as the priests from his kingdom had to have appraised the holy artifact on the mountain already. Yet the queen had deemed it necessary, in the event the new faith had somehow managed to manipulate the holy artifact. So Amin was sent in secret.

With Amara’s continued silent treatment, the leaders had been unnerved all the more as time passed. Speculations arose that Amara had tricked the gods and made a deal with the demons in secret. That rather than fight them, she would side with them. 

The Amaran Church denied any such claims and called such speech heretical. Now whispers were being told that the Amaran Church was in on the deal with the demons. And that the holy artifact should be destroyed.

Amin didn’t know the answer, nor did he bother much. But he knew that if it was indeed a holy artifact like the ones he had seen when he was younger, it wouldn’t be destroyed that easily. He suspected some had already tried.

The people from his kingdom didn’t either. But with tensions rising and conflict on the horizon, they had to gather information while they could. 

Which meant sneaking into the libraries and praying to the holy artifact in the now declared holy city of Levan at the foot of the mountain. With the Amaran Church, it had been decided that a temple would be built at the top, to protect the artifact. They made it, as priests always do, a ceremonial process.

It began by creating a staircase that led all the way up. Carrying the building material required up the steep mountain was now considered a pilgrimage. Simple dwellings had already been built to house those that needed them during their climb. Little by little, the materials came and were being placed. 

Amin stood up and stretched, before arching his back as he put his veiny hands to support it. He was torn about the new goddess. In some ways Amara was like the goddess he worshipped.

Alarice was an absolute ruler in the heavens. He had a hard time to believe that she could be tricked by another goddess. Not without facing her judgement.

The scriptures left behind since his ancestor’s time told as much. They told of a time of darkness, when the world was threatened by foreign invaders, like now. Alarice had descended in their hour of greatest need, turning the tide on her own. The followers of Alarice had thought that the demons was their ancient enemy returning.

The tales were in equal parts horrifying and captivating to Amin as he read them growing up.

Atrocities beyond their imagination, committed by the foreign invaders. The fear the people held in their hearts as they fled, and then fled again. The hopelessness, the knowledge of their imminent end as each wave of resistance was shattered. And in the middle of it all, their saving light.

Alarice.

Absolute, a ruler among the gods; indomitable, when facing any enemy.

And ruthless.

Utterly ruthless.

That was how Amin’s goddess was described. Many had feared her; more had respected her. For she had taught them an important lesson; self-reliance.

The resolution had been quick. It took decades for the demons to come to the point where final victory was in sight.

For Alarice, it took three days.

When the world had been cleansed Alarice had returned to the survivors, her fury yet unquenched. At that time, she would speak to the inhabitants of the world; for the first - and last - time. 

Inaction is your sin.

Pray, if you want protection.

Pray, if you want miracles to save you.

Pray, that I do not return.

Alarice had chosen the foremost warrior present and given him a sword; his forefather, and would become the Alarice Kingdom's holy royal artifact. 

Remember.

Many would forget, as new gods made their appearance; and with them, new faiths. But the enemy never came. But the Alarice Kingdom would not forget the goddess’s final command.

When the demons appeared, the Alarice Kingdom had been the first to move, even if their lands were largely unaffected by the invasion on the different continents. Their ships sailed to and fro to deliver soldiers and supplies. 

Originally Amin, was to go on the very same ship that brought back the news of the barrier's sudden appearance after the revelation.

Their efforts in halting the demons’ advance was considered a waste by many in Amin’s homeland. Why should their people bleed when others stood idle?

But the leaders stood faithful to Alarice, and would not bend. Even if it meant civil war.

Their actions had granted them a lot of goodwill in the Grand Conference when it took place. Furthermore, it had granted them a lot of freedom of faith.

They of course acknowledged Amara as their new ruler. But like Amara ruled over them; Alarice ruled over her. So praying to the higher ranked god was what they did.

If Amara disapproved, she could tell them.

Amin liked to think the two goddesses were similar. After all, Alarice had never spoken to them, prior to her arrival; nor at any time thereafter. 

And now Amara was silent as well. He had little doubt that Amara would run from the fight. Instead, she likely thought similarly to what he did.

When the time came, he’d fight with or without a goddess at his back. Except he’d be long dead.

But he thought the goddess was thinking similarly. She likely, like Alarice, didn’t care about allies; the armistice a tactical decision on the goddess’ part. If the inhabitants didn’t like it, they should’ve done something themselves earlier.

They had merely made their own beds.

Amin sighed.

Status.

 

Spoiler

 

Status

 

Name: Amin

Race: Human 

Age: 25 (Teyrin)

Level: 31

Class: Assassin

Titles: 

the Bastard

 

Mana:

37/100 (37%)

+ 20 / h (20%)

 

Remaining points: 0

Strength: 50

Agility: 54

Dexterity: 54

Vitality: 44

Stamina: 55

Willpower: 45                   

 

Class Skills: 

Backstab lvl 4

Silent Step lvl 9

Presence Detection lvl 8

Erase Presence lvl 8

 

General Skills (˅): 

[collapse]

 

I’ve rested enough. I should have enough mana to have some leeway should anyone be present at the holy artifact. Not that I expect anyone.

Making his way to the holy artifact, he didn’t detect any presences. As his eyes were drawn to the holy artifact, he snorted in his mind.

That’s a holy artifact alright. Nevermind creating it - merely bringing it here would be an impossible task.

With a final look for presences he knelt down, put his hand respectfully against the glass. It was warm to the touch. 

Although he had never touched the holy sword in his country before it disappeared, it was well known that it was warm to the touch once the magic inside was activated.

Another reason to reject any doubt of the hourglass’s origin.

Amin closed his eyes.

[Oh relic of the divine, show me your nature.]

[Ding!]

Spoiler

Time remaining: 990 Years, 2 months, 2 days, 18 hours, 56 minutes, 3 seconds.

Creator: YjM#H})Ad&B=,gA(4pSC.6p$ 

[collapse]

Amin took out a parchment and charcoal pencil. The message said exactly what the priests had said, for the most part, but he knew the queen would be angered should he neglect writing it now that he was here.

While trying to accurately silhouette the strange symbols onto the parchment, a flash of blue light reflected in the glass, followed by the cracking sound of a whiplash.

Instinctively he dropped his pen and parchment, drawing his long dagger as he whirled around and prepared himself to flee. Teleportation. Damn mages.

It was one of the few things he couldn’t prepare against.

As he looked he saw three slender figures stand before him. All of them were wearing armor, including helmets with a slit in the front that split up in two, revealing their eyes and mouths. The armor they wore was unlike anything he’d seen before. To his eyes, it looked like they were made of wood and metal in equal parts. 

To one side, seemingly a male, carried an ornate wooden staff. To the other, a female carried a sword, drawn from its sheath and pointed at the ground. And in between them stood another female, who wielded both a staff and a sword.

Their gazes were set on the enourmous hourglass.

The female in the center exclaimed in a light voice to the other two. “Ihn hou rah!”

She began stepping towards the hourglass while sheathing her sword when the female warrior held her back with her free hand. Her eyes had spotted Amin.

The female who had been stopped followed her companion’s gaze, and upon discovering Amin suddenly smiled excitedly as she exclaimed.

“Inahna vandelah Theynrin?”

Amin stepped back cautiously and furrowed his brow. They were clearly foreigners, but they didn’t speak a language he knew. But judging from their armor and weapons, they didn’t come from a backwater country either. For they used at best, what other countries had used previously or sold off as excess.

Seeing his confusion, she seemed to realize she had been hasty and looked to her companion, pushing her hand back. As her companion relented, she handed her staff to the male. Once she had no weapons in hand, she opened her palms as she made her approach.

Amin sighed internally. He was supposed to get in, get out, undetected. He wondered if he could anymore.

I'm getting into something troublesome. Again.

Although cautious, he judged that she meant no harm. After all, the female warrior had taken a stance with eyes fixed on him, clearly concerned for the approaching female’s safety.

He lowered his dagger, but prepared himself to run away if needed.

The female stopped and slowly made a series of gestures with one hand.

Waving her finger between them.

Slapping her thumb against her other four fingers while moving her lips.

Pointed at herself.

Flickered with her fingers in the air while lowering her arm.

A chuckle escaped Amin’s lips. The last gesture was well known for indicating magic, but all the magicians took offense at the gesture. But she was using it herself, if her staff was anything to go by.

At least she isn't stuck-up like the mages I’ve met.

He nodded in response. She smiled and began a short chant as a blue light appeared in her hand. In a moment it was over.

Her bright voice was heard again.

“You have my thanks, and greetings, kind stranger. I apologize that we startled you."

She took off her helmet, her blonde hair falling down to her shoulders. Pointed ears peeked out between the strands of hair.

She was of a race he had neither seen nor heard of before.

"Could you tell me if this is the world known as Teyrin?”(?)

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